Uncle Toni reveals just how close Rafael Nadal came to missing Australian Open
Toni Nadal has dropped the revelation that Rafael Nadal still had doubts of travelling for the Australian Open mere days before flying Down Under.
Throughout this year’s Australian Open, the 20-time Slam champion has expressed his gratitude in simply being back on the tour, let alone reaching the semi-finals of the tournament where he faces Matteo Berrettini.
Now, his uncle and long-time coach has said that Nadal was still undecided on whether he would travel to Australia just three days before doing so.
“I’m surprised [by Rafa’s form],” Toni Nadal told Cadena SER.
“Because, I remember when three days before [leaving for Australia], Rafa called my youngest son to hit a few balls after being quarantined due to coronavirus.
“At nine o’clock, we went to train and during training, he said, “I don’t know if I’m going to go or not because at the moment I’m not in condition for the Australian Open”.
“He only had three days to get a flight.
“The following day, he perked up and said “Okay, come on, I’m going”.
“I think it was more the excitement of competing and returning to competition than believing in himself.”
Rafa arrived in Melbourne to play an Australian Open warm-up event, the ATP 250 Melbourne Summer Set, which he won to clinch an 89th career title and secure an astonishing ATP record in the process.
While that run showed that Nadal was back to a good level, few could have necessarily expected him to perform as he has at the first Slam of the year.
Should he defeat Berrettini to reach a sixth career Australian Open final, the Spaniard would be in with a shot at an outright record 21st Slam title to overtake Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Such a triumph would also see Nadal equal Djokovic in claiming the Double Career Grand Slam by laying claim to all four Slam at least twice in his career.
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